Ben Affleck has left the DCEU and his role as Batman. Fans are reeling from the shock and fear even more changes to the DCEU, wondering if Henry Cavill will be the next actor to announce his departure from his role as Superman.
But while a section of the fandom is mourning the loss of Affleck, another section is optimistic that his departure will actually have a positive effect on the future of the DCEU. Let's take a look at some of the reasons which necessitated the exit of Batfleck, and also some reasons why he should have stuck around.
10 Reason For Leaving: The Age Factor
Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room. Ben Affleck was already close to being too old to play Batman when his first appearance in the DCEU was announced back in 2013. Since Affleck was playing an old and weary version of the Dark Knight, his actual age made sense. Back then, it was rumored that Batfleck was only supposed to be in three DCEU films, sacrificing his life in the first Justice League movie and earning a hero's farewell.
But now that more stories regarding Batman are going to be told in the DCEU, the franchise needs a younger version of the character. And to play him, they need to rope in a younger actor as well.
9 Reason For Staying: We Want His Definitive Batman Film
Ben Affleck has often expressed his love for the character of Batman and his desire to bring the character back to its roots as a detective dealing with the insane rogue's gallery Gotham has to offer. Considering that Affleck is a multi-Oscar winning filmmaker, fans were looking forward to his solo Batman film, which he was rumored to be writing, producing and directing.
But alas, Affleck's singular take on The Batman will no longer see the light of day, since the actor has left the project, and been replaced by Matt Reeves, director of Planet of the Apes.
8 Reason For Leaving: His Storyline Got Retconned
Batfleck's first appearance in Batman V Superman set him up as a bitter old man who had been worn down by a relentless battle against Gotham's criminal classes that had stretched on for far too long. This Batman has grown paranoid and psychopathic, having no qualms about taking out criminals in a brutal fashion and plotting the death of Superman, especially after witnessing a future in which Superman turns evil and enslaves humanity, in the infamous 'Knightmare' sequence.
Then all of Batman's personal arc was retconned in the next movie, Justice League. Suddenly Batman was making jokes and talking non-stop about what an awesome dude Superman was. Also, the Knightmare was never mentioned again. Clearly, all of Batfleck's personal storyline has been retconned from the DCEU.
7 Reason For Staying: We Want Battfleck vs Jared's Joker
Jared Leto is the DCEU's Joker. The question of whether he is a particularly effective Joker or not is irrelevant here. In Suicide Squad, we got to see a small interaction between Batman and the Joker, and now fans want more. We want to see how Leto's Joker would fare against Affleck's more brutal portrayal of the protector of Gotham.
Affleck's exit means we will never get to see the full version of the Batman-Joker confrontation teased in Suicide Squad. Which means we will also never get to find out how the Joker brought about the demise of Robin as hinted in the DCEU.
6 Reason For Leaving: Reminder Of The Snyderverse
In a lot of ways, Batfleck was the embodiment of the Snyderverse. Many fans complained that the brooding, tortured Superman offered up by Zack Snyder in his first film within the DCEU was a disservice to the character. But Affleck's tortured Batman in the sequel not only seemed to fit perfectly into the bleak landscape of the Snyderverse but actually seemed to belong there.
Now the Snyderverse has ended and Warner Bros. is actively trying to distance itself from its memories by focusing on making its new releases as light-hearted and full of jokes as possible. A part of this strategy would be to come up with a new Batman whose personality better fits into the new, more hopeful DCEU. So basically Nightwing.
5 Reason For Staying: Continuity Errors
The departure of Batfleck has left several significant continuity errors in the DCEU. We've already talked about the Knightmare sequence being ignored in later films, but what about the next time the Justice League meets Batman. Will they realized they're talking to a completely different person or will they try to pretend it's the same guy, just magically younger and less cynical?
4 Reason For Leaving: Ben Affleck Had Lost Interest In The Role
In BvS, you could tell Ben Affleck was going above and beyond for the role. Part of the reason was his love for the character and part of the reason was his desire to make up for the disaster that was the Daredevil movie. Whatever his motivation, Affleck went all out to make sure he looked the part, sounded the part and dressed the part, to make for the best onscreen live-action Batman/Bruce Wayne that has ever been seen.
But then BVS got mauled by the critics, Zack Snyder was removed from Justice League, and the movie was put through extensive reshoots to stuff it full of unnecessary jokes. All of this took a toll on Affleck's work and many fans accused him of phoning it his performance for the duration of Justice League. It's time for another actor who still feels enthusiasm for the role to take up the mantle of the Bat.
3 Reason For Staying: He Was The Face Of DCEU
Every franchise needs a popular face to associate with by the audience. For the MCU, it's Robert Downey Jr., an actor who had established himself in Hollywood long before playing the most popular character in the MCU. For the DCEU, Ben Affleck was poised to be that face. A well-known, Oscar-winning star who was playing the DCEU's most popular character. But not anymore. Who's going to take his place now? None of the other actors in the DCEU are as known for any of their other works.
2 Reason For Leaving: He Wasn't Drawing The Crowds
No matter what you think of Affleck's Batman, the fact remains that he wasn't drawing the crowds in the same manner that Christian Bale had before him with The Dark Knight trilogy. Just look at the fact that both Wonder Woman and Aquaman starred in solo films that outgrossed BVS, a movie starring both Superman and Batman. Clearly, audiences weren't feeling the love for this iteration of Batman or Superman, which might be why Warner Bros. feel a changeup of the actors is necessary along with a full personality makeover.
1 Reason For Staying: No More Sadfleck Memes
This one might feel a bit mean, but we can't help it. Ever since the critical failure of BvS, the internet has been entertained with a series of memes of Ben Affleck looking sad while promoting his films in the DCEU. Sadly, with his departure from the franchise comes the end of those memes.